Cartoon crisis as Australian animated film companies are liquidated

The Australian film industry has been hit by the liquidation of two animated film companies, following hot on the heels of the appointment of administrators last week to two film production companies.

FAI Film Distribution Pty Ltd and FAI Films Pty Ltd have both entered liquidation and liquidator McGrath Nicol is seeking expressions of interest for the ownership, copyright, distribution rights and income stream of the animated children’s film FernGully: The Last Rainforest and ownership and copyright of the film’s sequel FernGully 2.

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest is a 1992 film that follows Zak, a worker for a logging team cutting down trees in the rainforest. IMBD records the animated film as grossing $24,650,296 at the US box office.

In 1998, the film was followed by the direct-to-video sequel, FernGully 2.

Administrators Tony McGrath and Chris Honey placed advertisements today seeking expressions of interest in the films by June 18, 2012.

Andrew McIntosh, general manager at HIH Group, told SmartCompany the FAI film companies are part of the HIH insurance group, which collapsed in 2001.

“What we are looking for is some interested buyers for the asset; HIH owns the copyright for the Ferngully movies,” says McIntosh. 

“Sale process of the assets is still ongoing following the collapse in 2001, we have had some interest  and we have advertised in the US as well in Encore magazine.”

McIntosh says there is still value in the film companies for potential purchasers. 

“It is animated, so each new flock of newborns which reach the age of five or six are a new potential audience, someone interested in purchasing would probably redo the movie using modern technology,” he says.   

The liquidation follows administrator Ferrier Hodgson placing a sale advertisement for film production companies Video 8 Holdings and Video 8 Media last week.

The Video 8 companies provide technical assessment services to the film and television production market in Australia with high-end broadcast standard conversion, broadcast duplication services and a specialist media archiving and digitisation facility in Artarmon.

Administrator Ferrier Hodgson is seeking expressions of interest before June 8, 2012.

Michael Cave, spokesperson for Ferrier Hodgson, told SmartCompany the administrator launched the expression of interest campaign last week.

“There have been numerous inquiries and we have sent out information memorandums to numerous parties,” he says.

“Obviously there are still a few days to go, but we are hoping for some decision over the next few weeks.”

Cave say the businesses were being sold as a going concern and employ 13 people.

In a statement, Morgan Kelly, administrator of Video 8, said: “I’m pleased to say that trading has stabilised and I am confident about a positive outcome to the expression of interest campaign”.


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